In states within the US that offer casino gaming, facilities must have gained licensing approval from a regulatory body. Without approval, the casino will not have licensing and will be unable to offer games legally in the state. In each state, there are certain requirements to renew gaming licensing. In Massachusetts, the first casino to open its doors is now under the review process for license renewal. The Gaming Commission is considering how they will allow the Plainridge Park Casino to continue to operate in the state.
Penn National Gaming was given a five year gaming license from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission thanks to the 2011 gambling expansion law passed in the state. The license provided to the operator allowed for only slot style gaming. The casino operates over 1,200 slot and electronic games. The casino first opened in June of 2015 and offers services in Plainville, a town around 40 minutes from the Boston area.
Now that their five-year license is about to expire, the Commission must now determine if they will grant a license extension to Penn National. The gambling law enacted in 2011 allows the Commission to decide how they will renew gambling providers. The process must include a renewal fee of $100,000 at the minimum but any other details seem to be up to the commission.
According to Todd Grossman, the Deputy General Counsel, the regulators will have to discuss broad policy questions to be able to lend guidance to the process of licensing renewal.
This week, discussions began with Grossman and the five commissioners in the state to figure out how the renewal process should proceed for Category 2 licensing. This sector involves slot parlor operations. Grossman will be taking input from the commissioners during the meeting and then regulations will be drafted for the Plainridge Park Casino licensing renewal for 2020.
What’s to Be Considered?
Many would think that since Penn National has been offering services, they should just be able to renew their license in the same manner. However, the commission has much to consider for the process. Based on the state law, the license holder and executives of the company must be found suitable to hold a license in the state.
Investigations and Enforcement Bureau Head Karen Wells says that she has thought of a streamlined process to review operator suitability that will ensure the company is reviewed thoroughly. According to Wells, Penn National’s employees are supposed to inform regulators of any activity that takes place, changes or infractions that may have occurred based on current regulations. According to Wells, the brand has done just that.
Additional criteria that regulators are considering is compliance with licensing conditions. They must also consider if the host and surrounding communities are content with the gambling venue in their region.
Regulators must also review the license holder’s plan for capital investment as well as the brand’s financial health. Some of the commissioners have suggested that the process needs to include a public hearing.
Additional License Holders
Other companies will be under a review process as well in the future as their license expires. MGM Resorts opened MGM Springfield in August of last year while Wynn Resorts opened the Encore Boston Harbor in June of this year. These venues of course have a ways to go before their licensing will expire.
The way the commission decides to make changes with the Plainridge Park licensing will most likely dictate how the other venues are affected in the future